I haven’t been running much lately because I go to two aerial classes a day six days a week most weeks, but if you’ve been reading my blog for a long time you’ll know that last fall I was running generally five days a week. And because I’m too lazy to drive somewhere to run, I typically ran along more or less the same route (adjusted for distance).
There are a few people that I got used to seeing on a semi-regular basis, but there was one in particular that I really remembered – partly because he liked to run on the street despite the fact that there was a perfectly good sidewalk right next to him, but mostly because it seemed like I saw him nearly every run in more or less exactly the same spot, give or take a couple hundred yards.
After a few days or weeks of this, I think we both started to recognize each other because when we passed he would smile and/or wave, and I’d smile and/or wave back. Eventually I grew emotionally attached to him in a weird way; the way that runners support each other in passing is one of my favorite things about running, and getting a smile or a wave felt like encouragement that helped me through my runs, no matter how much I was struggling. So, I started thinking of him as my running buddy.
Since I stopped running, I’ll still see him every once in a while – though generally from my car – and feel guilty about how infrequently I’ve been getting out on my feet. And occasionally I’d thought that I’d like to actually meet/talk to him, but since neither of us want to interrupt our runs and I’d never seen him anywhere else I figured it would never happen. Or so I thought.
Last weekend four aerial friends and I drove to Georgia to take a flying trapeze class (more on that later). We all met at one friend’s house and took one car there, so we met that friend’s husband and dog before we left.
Then, on the way back, I started talking about how I was worried about my cats and how much I hate leaving them alone. Said friend said that next time we take a girls’ weekend she can ask her husband to check in my cats because he runs near there anyway. Then she said, “you may actually have seen him running past your apartment before. At first I just responded, “yeah, maybe!” but then I actually started to think about it, and what he looked like, and began to wonder…
I asked her if he’s ever had longer, shaggy hair. She said “it’s pretty long right now…”, and then I remembered that when we met he’d been wearing a hat. I responded, “I actually think I might have seen him… like every run,” at which point another girl in the car said “you’ve been checking out her husband!” and my friend said “well he does run without a shirt in the summer….” I told her I hadn’t been checking him out (true), but I had been judging him for running on the street and she said “yeah, hates sidewalks.” Then we pulled up to her house and I saw her husband out in the yard, wearing a distinct necklace – and that confirmed it.
At that moment, I realized that my running buddy had actually been my friend’s husband all along (although when I was running consistently, I hadn’t met the friend yet). But still.